Pentagon Gives Statement On Russian T-90 Tank Left At Truck Stop

The Pentagon has finally provided a statement on the Russian T-90A tank from Ukraine that wound up parked for two days at a Louisiana truck stop.

“The tank’s explosive reactive armor was inert, it was not armed or carrying any dangerous material, and at no point posed a risk to the public,” Sue Gough, a Pentagon spokesperson, said in an email to The War Zone on Tuesday in the Defense Department’s first comments about an ordeal that garnered international attention. You can read our original story about the tank in question here.

The Pentagon says the Explosive Reactive Armor containers on the T-90A tank were inert. (Courtesy John Phelps)
The machine guns were also removed. (Courtesy John Phelps)

Gough also confirmed our reporting about the tank’s ultimate destination before the truck transporting it broke down at Peto’s Travel Center and Casino in rural Roanoke.

“I can confirm that a T-90 tank was being transported to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, when the truck transporting it suffered a mechanical issue. That issue has been fixed and the item is secure.”

The “ultimate consignee” on the shipping label attached to the barrel of the tank’s main gun was listed as Building 358, 6850 Lanyard Rd., Aberdeen Proving Ground. That’s the home of the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center (ATC).

(Courtesy John Phelps)

“ATC is the Defense Department’s lead agency for land-combat, direct-fire, and live-fire vulnerability testing,” according to ATC. It “is a multi-purpose test center with diverse capabilities. It has become a world-class testing, training, modeling, simulation, and experimentation facility that gives American Warfighters superior materiel and technology.”

The T-90A, which had damaged front and rear fenders, is fairly modern by Russian standards, having been produced in 2004, according to the OSINT group. However, as we previously reported, the pictures shared with us by Reddit user Mutantlight, truck stop manager Cody Sellers and Louisiana resident John Phelps showed that the tank was clearly not fully kitted out. But it did have some explosive reactive armor (ERA) containers on the turret. It also had the “dazzlers” at least still fitted from the Shtora-1 self-protection system. Its various machine guns have been removed.

(Courtesy John Phelps)
(Courtesy John Phelps)
(Courtesy John Phelps)

Gough declined to say what will happen to the tank or confirm that it was captured by Ukraine last fall as claimed by open source information trackers.

“This is part of our ongoing commitment to provide Ukraine the capabilities it needs to counter Russian aggression,” she said. “For security reasons, we will not comment further on this matter.”

So we may never know the fate of this tank. But given where it is headed, it is likely that it could be used for destructive testing — such as testing weaponry against it. It could also be used to familiarize troops with foreign equipment, or in some other sort of foreign materiel exploitation (FME) capacity.

If we do find out, we will let you know.

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Howard Altman Avatar

Howard Altman

Senior Staff Writer

Howard is a Senior Staff Writer for The War Zone, and a former Senior Managing Editor for Military Times. Prior to this, he covered military affairs for the Tampa Bay Times as a Senior Writer. Howard's work has appeared in various publications including Yahoo News, RealClearDefense, and Air Force Times.